If you have listened to any of the recent interviews with Terry Crews on the Tim Ferriss podcast, Rich Roll’s podcast and an accumulating list of others, you’ll know what I am referring to. This one hit close to home, as it is something I have struggled with myself all my life. Only now am I starting to understand where this stems from. Anger is a powerful emotion, and one that has been used throughout my life as a coping mechanism for uncomfortable or stressful situations.
As Terry Crews discusses in this podcast and his previous one with Tim Ferriss, this is something that he learned as a child the hard way. He is extremely open and candid, discussing and sharing intimate details of his life for the benefit of the listeners. In a previous visit with Ferriss, he shares a very difficult scenario regarding his father, call it a culmination of years of abuse for his mother and himself. It was rough to listen to, but a powerful transformation for Crews and it was an amazing story to listen to. In the most recent podcast they cover some similar ground and Crews shares several examples from his personal life that are amazing life lessons. The one that I could identify with the most was when he used the analogy of “flipping over the chessboard” anytime things didn’t go his way. Growing up with the childhood he had, then going into competitive sports and then onto the NFL, he was surrounded by examples of this all the time. He had to come to terms with the fact that he was only making things worse by doing this, straining relationships with family and friends.
A self-righteous attitude is a dangerous thing, and he lived it to the fullest, according to what he shares. I can relate; despite not having anywhere near the star power of an NFL player, I had enough of a taste of it in the microcosm world of racquetball that I lived in. I was treated differently, allowed to get away with things that I never should have done i the first place. I damaged property in fits of anger, everything from breaking my own racquets to tossing a pool chair into the pool, damaging a painting, putting my foot through drywall and other egregiously unacceptable and entitled acts. It was ridiculous, and I am embarrassed that I ever did those things. Looking back it is clear why I reacted in this manner, but that is a story for another time. Suffice to say, I had reasons that motivated this behavior, but I had no idea at the time. Only recently have I done enough deep work to get an inkling of what I have been subconsciously dealing with for so long. Don’t get it twisted, we all have something to improve upon.
As Crews goes on to share, he went through several life changing events, much of it prompted my his wife threatening to leave if his behavior didn’t change. The crossroads he faced was one of two choices:
- Continue (and probably amplify) his current behaviors and thought patterns
- Do some introspection and work on some of his issues that allow those behaviors
Deep work isn’t an easy thing. I would equate it to moving a pile of manure with a teaspoon. It is dirty work, in the sense that you are going to uncover things that you didn’t realize were buried there in the first place. You will be confronted by uncomfortable truths and scary realizations along the way, and it is jarring to say the least. Things you took for granted your whole life with get torn to shreds in a sentence or two from someone else. Or a sudden realization, buried for years, breaks through and makes it to the surface. It will spill out stain your view of the world you had constructed for yourself. It will shake your very foundation, and then you will move on in spite of it. You will reconstruct your world view and you will be better for it.
Crews gives several very intimate and personal examples of things he had to deal with in his life, and it is rough to listen to at times. But I cannot applaud him enough for doing what he is doing; more people need to embrace the fact that we are born into situations that impact us for life. It is our own personal responsibility to confront these issues and deal with them. You cannot let things that are misaligned in your life affect your place in the world. These issues impact your relationships, your own self worth, and everything else in your own world. It affects the quality of your friendships and those with loved ones. His book entitled Tough My Journey to True Power is next up on my reading list. He does such a great job talking through these things on the podcast that I cannot wait to read the book itself.
Here is the thing, we all have things that need to be dealt with; demons that need to be faced, dragons that need to be killed. The sooner you pick up that teaspoon and start digging into that pile, the better off you’ll be. There are two things I can promise you on this adventure:
A. It won’t be easy
B. It will be worth it in the end
That’s about as good as it gets. I have been confronted with some very tough to swallow truths and revelations that absolutely rocked my world. But once I wrapped my head around this new information, let it settle in for a bit, I was better for it. It provided answers to things I didn’t know I had questions about. It shed light on things that motivated a lot of behaviors that I took for granted were just “me”. Crews says the same things; between his upbringing and a lifetime in a “tough guy” sport like football shaped his view of the world, with him in the center. I was guilty of the same; maybe we all are until a certain point in our lives. I am sure some people take these things to their graves, never digging their heels in and facing their demons. It’s the easy thing to do, and it is human nature to gravitate that direction.
First things first, listen to the FIRST podcast with Terry Crews here, and then listen to the recent one here. After doing so, I hope you are encouraged to grab that teaspoon and start digging. I did, and I am a better man for it. I am a work in progress, just like everyone else, but I took a few steps forward once I was willing to dig in the dirt and find out things that have shaped my life and world view. I hope you can do the same, and come out on the other side a better version of yourself.
I wish you luck in your endeavor.